It’s rare that “Suffolk” and “deeply unexciting” are mentioned in the same sentence, of course, but a mere three new Guide entries in the county enables me to bring you this lovely sight four days into GBG19;

A micro free zone !

So no two hour trips to “Times Supplements on Sea“, no micro pub opening hours frustration, no frisson of fear beside the Ipswich docks this year.

Just a trip to the Brecks for superlative Abbot, and two excellent unpretentious village pubs either side of Bury St Edmunds.

Fornham and Pakenham not signposted

Oddly, my last tick was in Pakenham, new home of West Suffolk CAMRA stalwarts Andrew and Di, who’d been nagging me to visit for months.


I obviously saved the trip for the day with stunning sunshine and blue background.

Not much in Pakenham itself, bar the churches we take for granted, an old mill and some decent footpaths.

3 years late for the millennium
St Mary’s
Gardener in hiding
The King of Cookers

All the retired gentlefolk were in their gardens, and all they said “Hello” in that bright and breezy way that leaves a tinge of doubt as to whether they think you’re an axe murderer or not.  Pakenham isn’t a place you come to by mistake.

Sun ruins shot
Note prominent opening times signage

All week opening at the re-opened Fox, but a 5pm start on Monday and Tuesday. Which isn’t bad.  At 4.55pm I joined Andrew and Di and the 5 o’clock club at the door.

Seat by the fire

I‘ll have an IPA please

They thought I was joking.  Sadly, the classic Westgate LocAle isn’t available here,

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Andrew enthusiastically described the beers, before going for a cider himself (Hmmm), so I went for the least expected option, the stock beer Wherry.

Out in the garden, it was a cool, smooth pint that underlined good cellarmanship rather than great brewing. Rather like Doom Bar, in fact.   I made it last long enough to compare notes on Italian ice cream and CAMRA controversy.

By 5.45 there must have been a dozen villagers inside, which isn’t bad for a village of 922. Less the three knocked over by the giant tractors as you step outside the door.


Since you’re here…

You really should get to the Bury St Edmunds Guildhall Beer and Pie Festival if you’re not watching Strictly this weekend.  West Suffolk CAMRA know their beer and pies).

12 thoughts on “THE PAKENHAM 5 O’CLOCK CLUB

  1. I’m surprised about that signpost directing one north-eastwards along the A143 towards Yarmouth as I would have headed in the opposite direction – that’s unless they mean Great Yarmouth not the proper Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight.
    Is just three new GBG entries for Suffolk because the county is lacking in railway arch “craft” brewers or because the local branch makes “good beer” a priority ?
    I don’t know Pakenham but have been to the Pakenham Arms near Mount Pleasant in London several times.
    You don’t get many of those Bramleys to the pound.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. its Yarmouth to locals,no-one thinks its that great 😉 plus if you follow the A143 it goes all the way to ‘Gt’ Yarmouth and in parts is called Yarmouth road, in fact plenty of roads that lead that direction in the region are often called Yarmouth road, not Great Yarmouth road, even in their near neighbour Lowestoft.

      though I know weve shuffled the numbers around between the Suffolk branches, so Ipswich lost 2 I think, so Im part surprised there arent more new entries, but on the other hand I cant think of any new pubs Id put in outside of Ipswich, or ones that maybe in this time but not for the 1st time. I like to think we make “good beer” a priority, there arent really many railyway arch craft spaces in Suffolk or a wave of new pubs opening, on the whole Suffolk is losing pubs,in quite big numbers. We put together recently a comparison in Ipswich between 2010 and now, and we think weve lost 34 pubs in 8 years just in Ipswich, and spread out over Suffolk as a whole lots of the places similar size to Pakenham lose their pubs for one reason or another, and once gone they dont tend to come back.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pakenham Fox was West Suffolk Pub of the Month Feb 2017, more recently 2018 overall Pub of the Year as well as Rural Pub of the Year. So you chose a good ‘un!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “either side of Bury St Edmunds.”

    I don’t know why but I love that for a town name.

    “my last tick was in Pakenham,”

    I can’t comment on the map as I’m commenting on my phone.
    (supping a happy hour ‘pint’* in 15C sunshine in Powell River while waiting for the ferry to take me home)
    * Don’t ask. Originally a 16oz US pint but instead of raising prices they’ve dropped it to 15oz.

    “I obviously saved the trip for the day with stunning sunshine and blue background.”

    Like me! 😉

    “Not much in Pakenham itself,”

    Like Powell River. 😊

    “Gardener in hiding”

    Is that a suburb of Pakenham?

    “Less the three knocked over by the giant tractors as you step outside the door.”

    Proof positive there can be a down side to jaywalking. 😏


    Liked by 1 person

      1. Argh. Should’ve taken a photo (boarding ferry in 5).

        Three months ago it was same glass just less in it. This time, totally different glass.

        Remind me to take photo when I’m back in December. 😎



  4. I remember the Fox well. Glad to see it’s thriving again. A good friend of mine lived in Ixworth, the neighbouring village for a while. Must admit the Dun Cow at Bardwell was always my favourite in the surrounding area.


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